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- Wrist Game or Crying Shame: Omega Speedmaster Apollo XVII 40th Anniversary
Wrist Game or Crying Shame: Omega Speedmaster Apollo XVII 40th Anniversary Will you flip a coin on this Speedy for €5,535? by Michael Stockton May 13, 2020 MIN READWrist Game or Crying Shame: Omega Speedmaster Apollo XVII 40th Anniversary
Welcome back to Wrist Game or Crying Shame, the online voting serial where playing along doesn’t require social distancing. Today, we’ll take a look at the limited edition Omega Speedmaster Apollo XVII 40th Anniversary and get your thoughts. But first…
Last week, I decided to give you a two-part cocktail made from equal parts of rarity and controversy. It was a stiff drink in the end, but apparently you’d order another as the Grand Seiko SBGX115 triumphed in a 55% Wrist Game win. Today, with the Speedmaster Apollo XVII 40th Anniversary, we’ll look at another limited watch. The bigger question we’ll ask is if its appeal is also limited.
The Speedmaster L.E. Battle
Before we get into the Speedmaster Apollo XVII, let’s spend a moment on everyone’s favorite horological version of the Hatfields and McCoys. Yes, there are people who love Speedmaster limited editions and those who abhor them. There’s a loud corner on this Earth that waits patiently at their keyboards for the newest releases before unleashing all sorts of vitriol and venom. Thankfully, the happy go lucky bunch is larger and Omega continues to release new watches on an annual basis. In this enduring battle, they say that never the twain shall meet, but today’s subject just might be the exception.
A Little Background
During the height of the Euro crisis in Summer 2012, I recall visiting ground zero – aka, Athens. I stepped into a jeweler who carried Omega and I saw the 40th Anniversary Apollo XV. I liked the subtle patriotic red, white, and blue motif and the fact that it still looked like a Speedy. With a tough economy, I thought I’d be able to score a decent deal that day, but it was not to be. You see, the shop was selling loads of watches to Chinese cruise ship tourists. Oh, I thought, I’d wait for next year’s limited Speedy and make my move. Well, what came later that year was not exactly what I was expecting.
The Speedmaster Apollo XVII 40th is…Unique
The Omega Speedmaster Apollo XVII 40th Anniversary was introduced in 2012. Apollo XVII marked the last time man would travel to the moon, so I’d say that’s rather significant. We covered this piece when Eugene Cernan passed away in 2017 and he was the last man to walk on the moon. Omega commemorated the event with a truly different type of Speedmaster. Up until 2012, and frankly every watch after 2012, looked like a typical Speedy. Sure, there were color changes or a mission patch made its way to a sub register, but the overall look and utility remained. This 2012 model grabbed the existing playbook, balled it up, and lit it on fire.
…the dial reminds most of those inexpensive souvenir coins often found at gift shops
The Speedmaster Apollo XVII used an engraved, hand-patinated, piece of 925 silver for its dial in the guise of the mission patch. Gone were the sub registers and any remote inclination that it could be used to time command module burns. The only nods to timekeeping come in the form of black lumed primary hands and an outer chapter ring. Want to use the chronograph function? It’s there and it works, but good luck!
A Controversial Watch
Omega produced 1,972 pieces of the Speedmaster Apollo XVII and they retailed for $7,200 or €5,380. It may come as a surprise in light of today’s rabid limited edition fanbase, but these watches sat for a long time. We’re talking years. I think I even saw one of these at a boutique or AD some 4-5 after the fact! This watch is an odd one and I give Omega credit for making it. On the one side, it’s actually quite pretty in person and looks a better on the wrist than you’d think. On the other side, the dial reminds most of those inexpensive souvenir coins often found at gift shops. Kennedy Space Center even sells these kinds of tchotchkes! And when you can buy such things for $29.95, spending thousands feels odd no matter what’s ticking inside.
Personally, I don’t like this watch at all. My praise stops with a bit of admiration of the dial as a piece of art, but this feels like the type of niche version where 172 pieces would have been enough. And when I say enough, I am talking about the spirited bunch who have to own every limited Speedmaster under the sun — or moon as it were. It seems those addicts didn’t buy in the beginning either, though. They waited until prices dropped to low points and then added them. Our Gerard is the perfect example of such a collector!
A rising tide lifts all boats and the Speedmaster Apollo XVII has enjoyed a bit of price appreciation over the past several years. Then again, when I look at limited edition Speedies, the frenzy has normalized a bit. It’s now possible to buy a host of used limited edition models around the €5K range. The 40th Anniversary model I’ve found for you comes via Chrono24, looks almost new, and comes with all of its accessories. The photos are courtesy of Bloombar Watches in London. Pricing sits at €5,535.
I suppose you know my thoughts on the Speedmaster Apollo XVII. I wouldn’t even need to flip a “coin” to make my decision, but perhaps you’re different. If nothing else, this watch is quite different and that sometimes translates into the ultimate sleeper in our hobby. Whatever you choose, please vote and give us your candid thoughts below.
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About the author
Michael was born in South Florida in the USA. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry. He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30,000 feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became… read more
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